Yesterday I ventured down to the Wednesday market just a few blocks from my office. The downtown farmer’s market is a dangerous place for me. This market is not just produce growers. There are booths selling sauces and dips, artisan cheeses, tempeh, candles, and home baked goods. There is at least one booth now selling frozen meat from local farms and another selling frozen shrimp caught over near Melbourne. There are local farms and produce resellers, but the resellers are easy to spot. There are bakery booths and several booths of imported clothes and hippie goods.
It’s a dangerous place because I spend so. much. money. I bounce from booth to booth like a pinball. For some reason this market attracts local growers that tend towards the more eclectic crops and more fruit, possibly the downtown mixed crowd is considered more urbane and sophisticated, I don’t know.
My small budget for yesterday went quickly. I bought a pound of huge Florida pink shrimp for $8, a 1/3 lb hunk of locally produced artisan gouda for $6.50, a basket of ripe blackberries, a $6 jar of Graham Farms plum jam, some peaches and cucumbers, and the coup of the day…
Mushrooms! There are several mushroom farming outfits selling at the various markets but they all sell shiitakes which grow well here. I buy them often, usually for about $10 per pound. Oyster mushrooms are a rare find so of course I bought those, but I was truly excited about the chanterelles. I have never in my life eaten fresh chanterelle mushrooms and think this dish will show them off the best. That will be my dinner Saturday.
Graham Farms is also starting a new CSA. This makes the 3rd new CSA I’ve heard of in the past six months or so. Graham Farms CSA is different though. Instead of paying a large chunk of money and receiving whatever vegetables the farm wants to give you, you pay Graham Farms $100 or more and you *choose* what goes into your box and how much. When you spend your deposit down, you just send in another $100.
We belonged to a CSA with very similar rules in Nashville and *loved* it. This is a fantastic system for families with picky eaters or dietary restrictions, or people who simply want control over what produce they eat each week. Graham Farms is also including their jams, pickles and honey in their CSA plan. Even though I still think $6 for an 8-ounce jar of jam is outrageous, I will pay it for their plum jam. It’s that good.
When I spoke to Marvin Graham yesterday about the CSA I urged him to try to find eggs for his CSA customers. I have written before about the price and scarcity of local eggs here. If he could include eggs for a good price I am sure his CSA shares would sell like crazy. If’n you’re interested:
Marvin & Kathy Graham
2520 W State Road 235
Brooker, FL 32622